How to Get Prepared before Meeting with a Divorce Mediator in Chicago

Before heading to a divorce mediator in Chicago, it is important that you understand certain aspects of your case and that you take certain steps in preparation for this meeting. Some things to do before meeting with a divorce mediator in Chicago include:

Understand the Marital Estate

Each spouse should have a clear understanding of their marital estate so that they can make informed decisions during the negotiations involved in mediation. Each spouse should have a clear understanding regarding their assets, income, and debts, including what is non-marital or theirs before the marriage.

Gather Documentation

Gathering documentation can often help the parties have objective data to review. Some necessary documents include tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, deeds, insurance policies, household budgets, household bills and retirement account statements.

Manage Expectations

Before mediation, it is important to manage expectations. The parties should carefully consider what they want out of the divorce, what they hope to gain and what they are willing to give up. It is important for each spouse to realize that the end result should be fair for both parties and to accept the idea that he or she will not get everything he or she wants. Mediation helps the parties make compromises and structure an agreement that works for both parties.

Consider Legal Assistance

To understand the legal repercussions of different decisions, each spouse may want to seek independent legal counsel. A mediator is not the lawyer for either party. While he or she can provide general legal information, the mediator is impartial and will not provide legal advice to the parties. A lawyer can provide this information, as well as discuss the portions of the divorce agreement that are negotiable and which portions are mandated by state law.